[ res-kyoo ]
See synonyms for: rescuerescuedrescuing on

verb (used with object),res·cued, res·cu·ing.
  1. to free or deliver from confinement, danger, or difficulty: The police were able to rescue the hostages in time.She rescued me from an awkward conversation.

  2. Law. to liberate or take by forcible or illegal means from lawful custody.

  1. the act of rescuing.

  2. the act of rescuing animals from danger, abuse, or neglect, as the adoption of stray and abandoned animals from an animal shelter, or the protection of wild animals in an animal sanctuary: Animal rescue requires cooperation between animal control agencies and shelters.

  1. a group or organization that participates in such animal welfare activities: your local rescue;breed-specific rescues.

  2. a domestic animal adopted from an animal shelter or other animal welfare group: Our new puppy is a rescue!

  1. of or relating to someone or something trained or equipped to rescue: The county's three certified rescue dogs and their handlers searched for earthquake survivors in the rubble.

  2. of or relating to a domestic animal adopted or available for adoption from an animal shelter or other animal welfare group: rescue puppies and kittens looking for loving families.

Origin of rescue

First recorded in 1300–50; Middle English verb rescuen, from Old French rescourre, equivalent to re- + escourre “to shake, drive out, remove,” from Latin excutere (ex- + -cutere, combining form of quatere “to shake”); see origin at re-, ex-1

Other words for rescue

Other words from rescue

  • res·cu·a·ble, adjective
  • res·cue·less, adjective
  • res·cu·er, noun
  • non·res·cue, noun
  • quasi-rescued, adjective
  • un·res·cu·a·ble, adjective
  • un·res·cued, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use rescue in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for rescue


/ (ˈrɛskjuː) /

verb-cues, -cuing or -cued (tr)
  1. to bring (someone or something) out of danger, attack, harm, etc; deliver or save

  2. to free (a person) from legal custody by force

  1. law to seize (goods or property) by force

    • the act or an instance of rescuing

    • (as modifier): a rescue party

  1. the forcible removal of a person from legal custody

  1. law the forcible seizure of goods or property

Origin of rescue

C14: rescowen, from Old French rescourre, from re- + escourre to pull away, from Latin excutere to shake off, from quatere to shake

Derived forms of rescue

  • rescuable, adjective
  • rescuer, noun

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012